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Application of New Structural and Stratigraphic Models to Petroleum Exploration in the Polish and Slovak Carpathian Mountains

Watkinson, Matthew P.1; Anderson, Mark W.1; Enfield, Mark A.2; Jankowski, Leszek 3; Kopciowski, Robert 3
1 School of Earth, Ocean and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, United Kingdom.
2 PDF Ltd., Ewelme, United Kingdom.
3 Panstwowy Instytut Geologiczny, Krakow, Poland.

The northern Carpathian Mountains have one of the longest histories of oil and gas production in the World. However, most of the exploration has focussed on shallow plays in the outer parts of the trust belt. As a result, there remains significant exploration potential in areas, and for plays, which are poorly explored. The key to identifying and exploring this new prospectivity is to reassess the geology in the light of modern understanding of thrust tectonics coupled with application of predictive sequence stratigraphy. We present here the application of these ideas through analysis of existing and newly acquired subsurface data, integrated with new and extensive field analyses.

Many features of the Polish and Slovakian Carpathians are not well documented in the literature. These include (i) the importance of pre-existing basement structures, (ii) inversion and contractional deformation of Mesozoic and Palaeogene extensional basins; (iii) widespread extensional basin formation from late Cretaceous to Eocene times; and (iv) regions where the dominant thrusting direction is to the south-west rather than towards the foreland. In addition, it is proposed that the existing structural subdivisions of the thrust belt into the Magura, Dukla, Silesian and Skola Nappes is misleading and unhelpful to future exploration.

We present these new structural findings alongside a stratigraphic framework that together provide an integrative tectono-stratigraphic template for structural restorations and for prediction of the presence and quality of play elements in the subsurface.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90090©2009 AAPG Annual Convention and Exhibition, Denver, Colorado, June 7-10, 2009